Willis, Russell “Dennis”

WILLIS wJanuary 5, 1951 – March 25, 2015
at the age of 64 years

It is with heartfelt sadness that we announce the death of Dennis following his long and courageous battle with Cancer, always with hope in his heart.

With Helen by his side, sons Corey and Aaron, sisters Heather and Pam nearby, he slipped away from us peacefully on March 25th.

Dennis faced his Cancer journey as he faced life, always with an inviting smile, a whistle on his lips, a story to be told and a zest for life that left all those he touched with a light heart and smile.

Born in Port Alberni, Jan. 5, 1951, his career varied from municipal Policing in Calgary where he met Helen, Real Estate, and then his love in Car Sales from Victoria to Abbottsford, never just a job but always his vocation! Boating with Helen was his “JOY”, which he shared enthusiastically and generously with family and friends. He especially enjoyed entertaining family and friends with verve, hiking and Rotary International where he involved himself fully with the Student Exchange Program and remains loved by his “girls” Carla (Brazil) and Irene (Mexico). In retirement he and Helen found their winter paradise in Panama and enjoyed for many years the ocean, warmth and many friends there.

Dennis was pre-deceased by his Parents, Sherwyn and Clara Willis. He is survived by his loving Wife Helen, Sons Corey (Tanya), Aaron, and Shane (Sasha), Grandchildren Apprelle, Deven, Brandon and Taryn, Sisters Heather and Pam (Don).

By request there will be no funeral service at this time. Private Celebration of Life will be at a later date. Remembrance of Dennis will be in our hearts with the special memories we each have for him.

Special thanks to the compassionate staff at Interior Health (Mary Jane) for care at home and in Hospice, and to Bastion Place Hospice Unit, you made this very difficult journey happen with dignity. Judy and Kim we thank you as you shared your love while walking your own path.

Kevin, Dennis could not have walked this path without your guidance, you were his Doctor but more so his friend.


  1. On one of my first trips to the auction this sharped dressed man approached me to introduce himself. He could tell that I was pretty green and he offered me a hand; to “show me the ropes”. With a big smile on his face and a joke or two from him to help me relax I instantly knew I was in good hands. I don’t know if I ever did out bid him on a vehicle over the years but I know for sure I was never able to outdress him. Dennis was always the sharpest dressed guy at the auction.

    I’ve met hundreds of people in the car business over the years but Dennis will always stand out to me as to being one of the nicest; a true first class guy. He’ll will always be rememberd.

    My condolences to the family.

  2. Dennis was the most positive person we have had the privilege of knowing. We met Dennis and Helen in Mexico ten years ago and discovered that we all lived in Blind Bay and became good friends and shared many good times and made memories together.

    Dennis loved to entertain and have a good laugh, he shared his knowledge and was always there to help or give advice. We remember fondly times spent together on vacation, boating on the Shuswap, dinners and getting together for a glass of vino!

    Helen was always by his side during the good and difficult times and was his rock! Dennis loved Helen and life and had such a zest for everything. It is tragic to lose him and the bright light he cast on everything.

    Rest in Peace our friend, you will not be forgotten, always remembered and thanks for all those wonderful memories.

    Heartfelt sympathy to Helen and family.

  3. Helen and family, my deepest condolences. There are no words to express how much Dennis meant to so many. He will be missed dearly… I am sure by all the knew him. I feel very lucky to have known him and I will always carry many great memories of Dennis.

  4. Dear Helen and Family:

    Karen and I are very sorry for the loss of a “one in a million” guy such as Dennis. He was always cheery and had an open ear for those he surrounded himself with. After 25 years of knowing both of you during my banking career, and my connection with Dennis through the car business, I will always remember his endearing calls; “Hey Rosco, can we have a meeting or can you do this deal?” (he was the only one who got away with calling me Rosco). I was honoured to continue to look after you both through your various moves with the car business from Victoria, Courtenay and then Abbotsford.

    Karen (who Dennis always referred to as “my child bride”) and I were sorry we never made it up to your beautiful home in Sicamous and sad we never took you up on the invitation.

    Sounds like Dennis “ran the good race” as we remember him enjoying the finer things in life, like introducing Karen and me to Chatenouff de Pape wine.
    So we will tip one tonight for you Dennis, and may your family find peace and gentle understanding that you have made your way to a finer place.

    Sincere deep sympathy
    Ross and Karen Thorstad

  5. Dear Helen,
    Your were Dennis’s angel , always by his side. We are so sorry for your familys’ loss , it is far too soon . Dennis was such an inspiration to our dear friend Tom, who , incredibly was battling the same cancer . Our hearts are sad now, but we will hold them high soon , having known such great men .
    With love to you and your family , Lynda & Nelson

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